Berlusconi II Cabinet

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Second Berlusconi cabinet
Flag of Italy.svg
57th cabinet of Italy
Date formed 11 June 2001
Date dissolved 23 April 2005
(1,412 days)
People and organisations
Head of state Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
Head of government Silvio Berlusconi
Total no. of ministers 23
Member party Forza Italia (FI)
National Alliance (AN)
Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC)
Northern League (LN)
History
Election(s) 2001 election
Outgoing election 2006 election
Legislature term(s) 31 May 2001 - 28 April 2006 (XIV)
Incoming formation Berlusconi II Cabinet formation, 2001
Outgoing formation Berlusconi II Cabinet formation, 2005
Predecessor Amato II Cabinet
Successor Berlusconi III Cabinet

The Berlusconi II Cabinet was the 57th cabinet of the Italian Republic, and the first cabinet of the XIV Legislature. It took office following the 2001 elections, and held office from 11 June 2001 until 23 April 2005, a total of 1,412 days, or 3 years, 10 months and 12 days. It held office for the longest period in the history of the Republic, and for the second longest period in the history of unified Italy since 1861 (outlasted only by the Mussolini government). During its long tenure, its composition changed significantly. Following the poor performance of the centrist parties in the Italian regional elections of 2005, most of the ministers of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats and the Socialist Party - New PSI resigned from the government, which was succeeded by the Berlusconi III Cabinet.

Formation[edit]

In 2001 Berlusconi again ran as leader of the centre-right coalition House of Freedoms (Italian: La Casa delle Libertà), which included the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, the Northern League, the National Alliance and other parties. Berlusconi's success in the May 2001 general election led to him becoming Prime Minister once more, with the coalition receiving 45.4% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies and 42.5% for the Senate.

On the television interviews programme Porta a Porta, during the last days of the electoral campaign, Berlusconi created a powerful impression on the public by undertaking to sign a so-called Contratto con gli Italiani (English: Contract with the Italians), an idea copied outright by his advisor Luigi Crespi from the Newt Gingrich's Contract with America introduced six weeks before the 1994 US Congressional election,[1] which was widely considered to be a creative masterstroke in his 2001 campaign bid for prime ministership. In this solemn agreement, Berlusconi claimed his commitment on improving several aspects of the Italian economy and life. Firstly, he undertook to simplify the complex tax system by introducing just two tax rates (33% for those earning over 100,000 euros, and 23% for anyone earning less than that figure: anyone earning less than 11,000 euros a year would not be taxed); secondly, he promised to halve the unemployment rate; thirdly, he undertook to finance and develop a massive new public works programme. Fourthly, he promised to raise the minimum monthly pension rate to 516 euros; and fifthly, he would suppress the crime wave by introducing police officers to patrol all local zones and areas in Italy's major cities.[2] Berlusconi undertook to refrain from putting himself up for re-election in 2006 if he failed to honour at least four of these five promises.

The government obtained the confidence of the senate on 20 June 2001 with 175 votes in favour, 133 against and 5 abstentions,[3][4] and the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies on 21 June 2001 with 351 votes in favour, 261 against and 1 abstention.[5]

Opposition parties claim Berlusconi was not able to achieve the goals he promised in his Contratto con gli Italiani. Some of his partners in government, especially the National Alliance and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats have admitted the Government fell short of the promises made in the agreement, attributing the failure to an unforeseeable downturn in global economic conditions. Berlusconi himself has consistently asserted that he achieved all the goals of the agreement, and said his Government provided un miracolo continuo (a continuous miracle) that made all 'earlier governments pale' (by comparison). He attributed the widespread failure to recognize these achievements to a campaign of mystification and vilification in the printed media, asserting that 85% of newspapers were opposed to him.[6] Luca Ricolfi, an independent analyst, held that Berlusconi had managed to maintain only one promise out of five, the one concerning minimum pension levels. The other four promises were not, in Luca Ricolfi’s view, honoured. In particular, the undertakings on the tax simplification and the reduction of crime.[7]

Fall[edit]

House of Freedoms did not do as well in the 2003 local elections as it did in the 2001 national elections. In common with many other European governing groups, in the 2004 elections of the European Parliament, gaining 43.37% support. Forza Italia's support was also reduced from 29.5% to 21.0% (in the 1999 European elections Forza Italia had 25.2%). As an outcome of these results the other coalition parties, whose electoral results were more satisfactory, asked Berlusconi and Forza Italia for greater influence in the government's political line.

In the 2005 regional elections (3 April/4 April 2005), the centre-left gubernatorial candidates won in 12 out of 14 regions where control of local governments and governorships was at stake. Berlusconi's coalition kept only two of the regional bodies (Lombardy and Veneto) up for re-election. Three parties, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, National Alliance and Socialist Party - New PSI, threatened to withdraw from the Berlusconi government. The Italian Premier, after some hesitation, then presented to the President of the Republic a request for the dissolution of his government on 20 April 2005.

Composition[edit]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Foreign Affairs Renato Ruggiero11 June 20016 January 2002Independent
 Silvio Berlusconi (ad interim)6 January 200214 November 2002Forza Italia
 Franco Frattini14 November 200218 November 2004Forza Italia
 Gianfranco Fini18 November 200423 April 2005National Alliance
Minister of the Interior Claudio Scajola11 June 20013 July 2002Forza Italia
 Giuseppe Pisanu3 July 200223 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Economy and Finances Giulio Tremonti11 June 20013 July 2004Forza Italia
 Silvio Berlusconi (ad interim)3 July 200416 July 2004Forza Italia
 Domenico Siniscalco16 July 200423 April 2005Independent
Minister of Defense Antonio Martino11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Justice Roberto Castelli11 June 200123 April 2005Northern League
Minister of Productive Activities Antonio Marzano11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister for Agricultural and Forestry Policies Gianni Alemanno11 June 200123 April 2005National Alliance
Minister of Education, University and Research Letizia Moratti11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Roberto Maroni11 June 200123 April 2005Northern League
Minister for Health Girolamo Sirchia11 June 200123 April 2005Independent
Minister of Infrastructures and Transports Pietro Lunardi11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea Altero Matteoli11 June 200123 April 2005National Alliance
Minister of Cultural Heritage Giuliano Urbani11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Communications Maurizio Gasparri11 June 200123 April 2005National Alliance

Ministers without portfolio[edit]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Minister European Affairs Rocco Buttiglione11 June 200123 April 2005UDC
Minister of Reforms and Devolutions Umberto Bossi11 June 200116 July 2004Northern League
 Roberto Calderoli16 July 200423 April 2005Northern League
Minister of Innovations Lucio Stanca11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister for Regional Affairs Enrico La Loggia11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister for the Implementation of the Government Program Giuseppe Pisanu11 June 20013 July 2002Forza Italia
 Claudio Scajola28 August 200323 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Equal Opportunities Stefania Prestigiacomo11 June 200123 April 2005Forza Italia
Minister of Public Administration Franco Frattini11 June 200114 November 2002Forza Italia
 Luigi Mazzella14 November 20023 December 2004Independent
 Mario Baccini3 December 200423 April 2005UDC
Minister of Italians in the World Mirko Tremaglia11 June 200123 April 2005National Alliance

Further reading[edit]

  • Donovan, Mark (2004). The Governance of the Centre-Right Coalition. Italy Between Europeanization and Domestic Politics. Italian Politics. 19. Berghahn. pp. 80–98. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gingrich, Newt; Armey, Dick (1994). Contract With America: The Bold Plan. 
  2. ^ Ricolfi, Luca (2005). Dossier Italia: a che punto è il 'contratto con gli italiani. Il mulino. 
  3. ^ Senato della Repubblica - XIV Legislatura - Seduta n. 6
  4. ^ "Berlusconi wins senate confidence". BBC. 20 June 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Camera dei Deputati - XIV Legislatura - Seduta n. 6
  6. ^ "Berlusconi: 'Successi straordinari Contro di me l'85% dei giornali'". Repubblica. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Ricolfi, Luca (2006). Tempo scaduto. Il "Contratto con gli italiani" alla prova dei fatti. Il Mulino. ISBN 8815108882.